Number change: Jets’ Sauce Gardner pays $ 50,000 to put on No. 1 jersey

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ – When Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was drafted by the New York Jets, he decided to keep his eyes out for the No. 1 jersey, and it cost him $ 50,000.

Determined to secure his old college number, the rookie cornerback paid the handsome sum to teammate DJ Reed for the number. Reed signed with the Jets in March after playing with the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons. He carried No. 2 last year and carried No. 1 in the early part of this offseason.

Gardner confirmed the deal on Tuesday, saying he transferred money to Reed after a brief negotiation. Essentially, they swapped the numbers where Gardner landed No. 1 and gave No. 4 to Reed.

With a little sweetener, of course. Asked how much he paid for the number, Gardner simply said, “fifty.”

Gardner can afford it thanks to his rookie contract. As the fourth overall pick, he signed a $ 33.5 million four-year contract, including a $ 21.5 million signature bonus.

The Jets rookie carried No. 1 during his final two seasons at the University of Cincinnati. Gardner said it was “a big reason” why he was willing to pay so much, but it went deeper than that. “When I got the nickname ‘Sauce,’ I had number 1,” he said, recalling his childhood in Detroit, Michigan. “It’s the little things. I feel it suits me best.”

Gardner was only seven years old when his youth coach, impressed by his clever moves, called him “A1 Sauce Sweet Feet Gardner.” Eventually it was shortened to just “Sauce”.

The Jets do not award No. 1 as often. The last player to wear it for an entire season was backup quarterback Michael Vick in 2014, according to the Pro Football Reference. Backup safety Kai Nacua wore it short last season.

Reed declined in a recent interview to reveal the amount he received for the number, saying, “I do not want to talk business.”



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